Top 3 Reasons Why Fraternity Formals Should No Longer Be Held in Gatlinburg, TN

Top 3 Reasons Why Fraternity Formals Should No Longer Be Held in Gatlinburg, TN

The once safe-haven and perfect host spot has become hostile and unwelcoming.

At most colleges, it has become a tradition over the years to pack up the freshly primed, painted, sealed and filled coolers in order to travel across state lines for fraternity formals. The locations of these formals are always rented for several days and often take place anywhere from the beach, to the mountains, lakes, or even as far as Canada.

Fraternities at Miami University are no exception.

For several years now, nearly all Miami fraternities have trekked a majority of their members and their chosen dates each spring to the Great Smoky Mountains of Gatlinburg, TN. The area was always one that was safest for fraternity members and their dates, as they once they were there they did not have to drive. It was always convenient, as there are many resorts which can provide multiple cabins in close proximity to one another for the large group. Gatlinburg was just far enough away, with a beautiful view, to create an almost vacation-like atmosphere. However, these luxuries that Gatlinburg once was able to provide for fraternity formals is now no longer the case.

Over the past few years, many fraternities at Miami University have either chosen to change the location of their formals, or at least have considered doing so. This is due to the large number of growing issues that have arisen while Miami fraternity formals were taking place. Evictions, extreme costs for minor damages, noise violations, purposeful separation of fraternity cabins by the resort coordinators and aggression from police officers have created an increasingly hostile environment for fraternity members and their dates.

The most baffling of all issues that have arisen with the chosen location of Gatlinburg was the eviction of all cabins on Saturday evening during Phi Delt's formal (which I was a guest at) just this past weekend. The reason was not made abundantly clear as to why every single cabin rented by the fraternity was evicted, though some cabins were actually empty and/or causing no trouble for the resort. However, they did make it clear that everyone had 20 minutes to remove their things from the cabins and leave.

This was absolutely appalling, not because I am claiming there was no right to evict the cabins, because I will be the first to say that I am not sure if there was or not, but because this eviction took place on Saturday evening around 7:30 p.m. when the resort knew well that many of the members of the fraternity and their dates had been drinking throughout the course of the day. The options the fraternity members now had was not as simple as if just one cabin had been evicted, where the consequences were only as steep as a fine and uncomfortable sleeping arrangements on the floor of another cabin for the night. They were now left having to find a place to stay for the night, a way to get there, and calling their parents to let them know what was all happening -- all within a mere 20 minutes to handle the situation.

The Gatlinburg resort blatantly told the fraternity members not to drink and drive, yet they still put them in a situation where there was a lot of pressure to do so from the money constraints of now having to pay for a hotel and cab, as well as the strict time constraints they ordered. During the next 20 minutes, police officers were yelling at the fraternity members and their dates to hurry, stood outside the cabins, and made the overall environment of the situation heavily more hostile, despite the fact the members and their dates were entirely compliant.

Meanwhile, a few cabins away, another Miami fraternity formal was being held. There, the police came and aggressively gave noise complaints to the members of the fraternity, and threatened eviction of all cabins for them as well. They were not kind, welcoming, or in any way creating the traditionally chosen formal location of Gatlinburg to be a "resort."

Overall, I have a hard time believing I'm the only person extremely dissatisfied with the environment that Gatlinburg, Tennessee has come to offer for fraternity formals. The once-loved location offered so much for the members and their dates to have a wonderful weekend away from Oxford, Ohio, yet now creates nearly nothing but hostility. I think it's time that all fraternities take the step many already have, and relocate their formals next spring to somewhere entirely more welcoming, accommodating and less stressful. You only have four years in college, and therefore, four years in which you can enjoy formal with your fraternity; there's no reason it should be anything less than a resort.

Cover Image Credit: Pinimg

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I Blame My Dad For My High Expectations

Dad, it's all your fault.

I always tell my dad that no matter who I date, he's always my number one guy. Sometimes I say it as more of a routine thing. However, the meaning behind it is all too real. For as long as I can remember my dad has been my one true love, and it's going to be hard to find someone who can top him.

My dad loves me when I am difficult. He knows how to keep the perfect distance on the days when I'm in a mood, how to hold me on the days that are tough, and how to stand by me on the days that are good.

He listens to me rant for hours over people, my days at school, or the episode of 'Grey's Anatomy' I watched that night and never once loses interest.

He picks on me about my hair, outfit, shoes, and everything else after spending hours to get ready only to end by telling me, “You look good." And I know he means it.

He holds the door for me, carries my bags for me, and always buys my food. He goes out of his way to make me smile when he sees that I'm upset. He calls me randomly during the day to see how I'm doing and how my day is going and drops everything to answer the phone when I call.

When it comes to other people, my dad has a heart of gold. He will do anything for anyone, even his worst enemy. He will smile at strangers and compliment people he barely knows. He will strike up a conversation with anyone, even if it means going way out of his way, and he will always put himself last.

My dad also knows when to give tough love. He knows how to make me respect him without having to ask for it or enforce it. He knows how to make me want to be a better person just to make him proud. He has molded me into who I am today without ever pushing me too hard. He knew the exact times I needed to be reminded who I was.

Dad, you have my respect, trust, but most of all my heart. You have impacted my life most of all, and for that, I can never repay you. Without you, I wouldn't know what I to look for when I finally begin to search for who I want to spend the rest of my life with, but it might take some time to find someone who measures up to you.

To my future husband, I'm sorry. You have some huge shoes to fill, and most of all, I hope you can cook.

Cover Image Credit: Logan Photography

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Irish-American History Is Just As Important As Any Other Culture, You Can't Prove Me Wrong

I cherish being Irish and I will not let anyone let me feel bad for that.


Depending on when you're reading this, Saint Patrick's day has either just passed or is around the corner. For me, Saint Patrick's day is tomorrow. I've been debating this article for some time now because I didn't know how it would be perceived. At this point, though, I feel it's important for me to get out. No, Irish people were never kept as slaves in America, and I will never be one to try and say they were. However, Irish people were treated tremendously awful in America. A lot of people tend to forget, or just try to erase entirely, the history of the Irish in America. So much so that I felt shameful for wanting to celebrate my heritage. Therefore, I want to bring to light the history that everyone brushes under the rug.

In 1845, a potato famine broke out across Ireland. This was a big deal because the Irish lived off, mainly, potatoes. They were cheap, easy to grow, and had tons of nutrients. So when the famine struck, many people either died of starvation or fled to America in seek of refuge. When the Irish arrived in America they were seen as a threat to the decency of America. People viewed them as drunk beasts, sinful savages, barbaric, violent, belligerent, stupid, and white apes. When the Irish would go to look for jobs, many times they found signs that read "Irish Need Not Apply," even when the job was hiring. Therefore, the Irish did the jobs no one wanted, and even jobs African slaves wouldn't do. The biggest example of this is when Irishmen built canals and drained swamps. They were sent to do these things because of the enormous amount of mosquitoes; in the swamp, they would get bit and ultimately die of malaria.

Also, during this time, Irish people were poor and therefore lived in the same neighborhoods as the free African Americans. A lot of the Irish people were friendly with their neighbors of color and even got into interracial relationships. Because the Irish lived in these neighborhoods they were seen as dirty and even a lot of people at this time put African Americans higher on the totem pole than Irish. One person during the time even said, "At least the black families keep their homes clean."

The main reason American's outlook on Irish people changed was that most Irishmen took up fighting for the Union in the Civil War. I make this argument, not because I think the Irish suffered more than African slaves. I don't say this in means of trying to erase the struggles of the African slaves. I do not think that any of our ancestors should have been treated the way they were. I mean to say that the Irish did in fact suffer. Irish people were treated wrongly on the basis of...nothing. Simply because my ancestors hailed from the shores of Eire, they were treated with malice. And I write this simply because I want people to remember. I want people to understand what happened.

On Saint Patrick's Day this year, next year, and for the many years to come, I want people to embrace the Irish culture. I want the folks of Irish heritage to not be ashamed of where they come from; to not be ashamed to share their culture the way I have for many years. I want everyone to have a beer, wear some green, eat a potato or two, and dance the Irish step; to celebrate the history of Irish people with a bit more understanding than before.

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